Ruffled Feathers and Spilled Milk

Farming with ducks and dairy goats, chickens and children.

What’s Up?

Posted on | May 3, 2012 | 13 Comments

I ran into a friend at the kids’ school.

“Hey,”  she said, “What’s up?”

Well, the chicks in the incubator hatched.

Which means they’ll be added to these chicks in the brooder room as soon as they’re old enough.

Or as soon as I get tired of changing this brooder box in the house.

Or when the dogs start barking at them all night long because the constant peeping is keeping them awake.  The dogs need their beauty sleep.  Or else they might have to take 8 naps on the couches during the day.  Instead of just 7.

Unlike a lot of people, I’ve had reasonably good success with adding chicks of different ages together.  As long as they born within 4-6 weeks of each other, they seem to do OK.  Probably because the natural aura of peace, harmony, and togetherness that we promote on our property.  That or they figure they are safer off making friends with each other than making friends with Daisy, the barn cat.

Do you see her outside the brooder room waiting to make friends?

The poppies have popped in the wildflower bed.

Which means it’s the season for cut flowers in the house again.

Also, the season for wandering around the house trying to find that stench, only to discover it’s the slimy water in the cut flower vase.  I think you’re supposed to add Sprite to the water to keep it from getting slimy.  Or change the water every few days to keep it fresh.  Which is so much work that by August it will be the season for fake cut flowers.

The vegetable transplants in the garden are doing well, despite the recent heat.

Which is more than I can say for this guinea hen that I thought was setting on eggs.

She’s not setting on eggs.  She’s dead.  When I was in the garden weeding, and then transplanting, and then watering, and then staking, I glimpsed her there and meant to go over and get a better look, but never did.  That’s the crazy thing about us Type A personalities.  We get a lot done—-rushing from the barn chores to the garden chores, from the bank to the school to the library, making lists and checking them off, but we don’t always pay close attention.  Sometimes I have to say to myself,

“Whoa!  Slow down, girl!  Look again.  That guinea ain’t sittin’ eggs.  She’s deader than a doornail!  (Also, that cop sittin’ in the church parking lot that you pass going into town ain’t just doin’ paperwork.  Slow down, girl, slow down!)”

I talk to myself like that (parentheses included).  Or else I hear voices in my head.  Whichever.

I’m pretty sure the Orioles passed us by.  Those punks.  But we attracted some other visitors on their migratory path.

We have a pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks frequenting the feeder.  They normally summer in Canada or the northeastern U.S.  I have no idea what made them stop for a visit, but it was thrilling to see them.  Until Big pointed out that we might never see them because maybe they shouldn’t be here.

“You don’t think you upset the balance of nature with all those feeders, do you?” he asked.  ” I mean, what if they don’t continue up north?  What if they stay here?  What if they turn into a threat for native species?  Like coqui frogs in Hawaii, or red fire ants in Texas?  Or kudzu???”

I assured him it was fine and they would move on eventually.  Probably.  Maybe.  But I took down the meal worm feeder for a few days.  And if the state becomes infested with grosbeaks, you didn’t hear that it started here.

Brianna is due to kid in a week or whenever she feels like it.  So she is confined to the kidding barn on most days.  Most of my ladies complain bitterly about their confinement.  But Brianna is way too experienced for that.  She knows the kidding barn means free access grain and hay, fresh water that no one else has slobbered in, and frequent visits from the farmer with treats and chin scratches.  I let her out in the mornings while I milk and do chores.  And as soon as she has a cool morning stroll to eat some blackberry branches and acorns, she’s waiting at the door to go back in.

I remember being pregnant with my first child.  I told my grandmother that I planned on being home within 6-8 hours after giving birth.  I didn’t intend to spend any more time in the hospital than was necessary.  She laughed.  A lot.  I had no idea what she was laughing at.

By the time my fourth child was born they had to haul me kicking and screaming out of the hospital.

“No!”  I cried.  “I haven’t had a bowel movement.  I don’t think my milk has come in!  No!!!”

They threw me a bottle of Colace, a free sample of Similac, and wheeled me out the door.  That’s why they use wheelchairs, you know.  Postpartum mothers can walk.  They just aren’t willing to leave the room service meals, cable TV, and free 24 hour nursery care under their own volition.  Not the experienced ones anyway.  I know exactly where Brianna is coming from.  And now I know why my grandmother (who had 9 children) was laughing.

With Brianna due to kid and new babies on the way, the lambs are on weaning.  Which means I have 2 fuzzy, fast moving rams attached to my heels wherever I go in the barnyard.

They are not pleased with the teensy amount of milk that they get in the mornings and are hoping that at any moment a bottle will fall from my pockets.  They also feel it is ridiculously unfair that Tina continues to get milk twice a day.  But with Tina’s bones and muscles healing and gaining strength we have no intention of weaning her too soon.

As a matter of fact, Tina just got new splints.  The PVC tubes began sliding off, which we took as a good sign.  She now has rulers taped to the front and back of her legs.

They keep her legs straight, and force her onto the flat of her hoof so she gains strength while walking.  They are much more lightweight than the PVC pipe and she is much more agile in them.  Plus, they are easier to relax in.

We are still holding out hope for her full rehabilitation.  Because she has already made a special friend.  A special male friend who may have great relevance for her future.  Time for Captain to move to the buck pen.

Carmen turned out to be fat instead of pregnant.  Boo for Carmen.  I saw some behavior that indicated a heat cycle but I just wasn’t sure.  So I put her in with Merlin to test it out.  A doe that is not in heat does not want anything to do with the buck.  Carmen, however, was pointing out some of her finer features to him.

Oh well.  Better luck with kids in September.

Bruno apparently needs dental care.  Don’t be fooled by his smile.

At his check up, the vet pointed out his layers of plaque and tartar.  Which I felt was very irresponsible of him.  How could he let his teeth go like that?  He now receives a very expensive dental chew each day.  Or every other day.  Or every 3 days.  However long I can manage to stretch out those costly cookies and still see a decrease in plaque and tartar.  At least his fur is taken care of by someone else.  Bruno has a heavy undercoat that he begins to shed this time of year and needs to be brushed out.  Daisy has dutifully stepped up to handle this.  Thank you, Daisy.

But Bruno’s not the only one getting a new coat.  Papa is wearing his summer colors.  Dried southern red clay on top and dark brown pond muck on bottom.  It’s very fashionable.  All the pigs are doing it.

He obviously recognizes the importance of taking the time to update your style.

Unfortunately, there won’t be any tadpoles this year.  When I went to the pond to gather some for the aquarium on the deck, there wasn’t a single one in sight.  Instead the pond was mobbed with baby fish.  Can you see him?  Look for his big bug eyes.  Um, big fish eyes.

They were everywhere!  Those are not leaves in the water, they are fish!

And not all of them were small!

I wish I could show you the huge schools gathered around the pond banks.  But my photography skills are limited.  And, even though I tried to slip up to the water silently, my walking partner was not so stealthy.

Although I was sad that there wouldn’t be any tadpoles to watch morphing into frogs, I was thrilled that there were so many fish.  4 or 5 years ago, drought conditions caused the pond level to drop really low, the vegetation on the pond banks died, and the pond got a leak.  Since that time, it has yet to refill up to the dam level and I worry all the time that the water will get stagnant and unhealthy.

But I suppose life will find a way.  And the frogs will have to lay their eggs where there aren’t so many hungry fish.

Last, but certainly not least, Middle caught 2 fly balls in last night’s baseball game.

And Little made a run and threw in a ball from the outfield for an out.

Most importantly, no one tried to catch the ball with their face and everyone went home with their teeth intact.  Amen.

When I finished talking, my friend stood silently for a minute.  She blinked a few times.

“No…”  she murmured, “I meant, what’s up with you today?  Why are you here at school?”

“Oh,”I said.  “Pretty got a Terrific Kid award.  I’m here for the ceremony.”

My friend smiled weakly, gave me an awkward pat on the back, and started moving away.

“Tell her congratulations, ” she called over her shoulder as she hurried off.  “I’ll see you later.”

I don’t think that woman really wanted to know what was up with me.  And I don’t think I’ll be seeing her again later.  Not if she sees me first.  Sigh.  I think I need to get off the farm more often.


13 Responses to “What’s Up?”

  1. Carolynn
    May 3rd, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

    My Gawd, Woman, but you’re busy! It’s all good stuff and I love it all. Your critters are so entertaining and you do have a way with words. I really enjoy my visits here. I Will see you later.

  2. Chai Chai
    May 3rd, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    Looks like Tina is making great progress, amazing!

  3. Peggy Lineberry
    May 4th, 2012 @ 3:27 am

    Your posts start my day off with a smile. They also make tired before I even start the day but the smile is worth it. LOL Have a great weekend!

  4. Jill
    May 4th, 2012 @ 4:10 am

    Your farm is a working science lab as well as a working farm. What teams are the boys on? Mine is on Mechanical Solutions with Grant. Car Wash on Orange Grove Rd on Saturday. Can’t wait for the fundraising to end!!! Love the update. Keep on truckin’ … whatever that means. Hope we can get together soon…

  5. admin
    May 4th, 2012 @ 4:31 am

    We just do Mebane baseball. It costs $35 for the season (that includes your uniform. No fundraising required. 🙂

  6. Terry Golson
    May 4th, 2012 @ 5:29 am

    I don’t know what it says about me that I was laughing hardest about the dead guinea. Or what it says about you that you’re sharing it with the world. BTW, love those poppies. Wish I could grown them here like that.
    -Terry at HenCam (where we notice dead animals within the first 24 hours.)

  7. Tanya
    May 4th, 2012 @ 5:38 am

    Come back to Charlotte if you want to get off the farm. Ever heard of Carowinds???

  8. Annabelle
    May 4th, 2012 @ 7:29 am

    amazing that we have so much in common…we named a buckling Captain this year, a doe that turned out to be fat and not bred, and an old dog that needs better dental care! Thanks for the insight and for making me feel sane, and not as busy as you!

  9. Kim
    May 5th, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    This blog always tickles me, I can see so much of your life in mine, especially about loving the flowers but then getting bored of the whole changing the water thing! (and not being able to work out where the stench is coming from).
    The cat pulling her claws through Bruno is great – what a gentle dog or is she a meanie cat?!

  10. admin
    May 5th, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    He is a gentle giant. And he loves the companionship of the other animals. The goats don’t really like to hang out with him, but the pig, the pony, and the cat will a just sit or stand next to him or follow him on his rounds in the morning. It’s very sweet!

  11. Kim
    May 6th, 2012 @ 3:00 am

    He’s lovely – they all are!

  12. lin
    May 6th, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    Sheesh. Well, she’s a boring friend. I enjoyed all that stuff–why wouldn’t she?

    I lost 3 of my 4 frogs in a hail storm the other night. The pond seems so empty and sadly quiet without them. Fortunately, one male remains and he sings a lonesome song for me each night. At least I have him….for now. Who knows–he may be packing to leave too. Sigh. I went and shopped around to see who’s got a shipment of taddies for me to buy some. Gotta wait a few weeks, but it’s worth it. I love raising tadpoles too.

    I’m so glad the splints are working on Tina’s legs. Nobody wants that to work more than you and me. She’s such a doll!

    Sorry about the dead hen. Sometimes things like that happen and we beat ourselves up for it. But, we can’t be responsible for everyone, can we? No guilt, momma. Sometimes animals have to go somewhere else to die–if not just to ease our guilt a bit. Sheesh.

  13. Laura
    May 7th, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    Thanks for stopping by our blog. Your life sounds a lot like ours 🙂

Leave a Reply

  • Archives

  • Tags

  • July 2024
    M T W T F S S
  • Meta

  • Humor & Funny Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
  • Best Green Blogs